But that was the headline this week in several newspapers that reported on a proposal of the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission of India, a government body that plans things. What will happen after tea is declared the national drink? Nothing much, of course. But once word got out, an influential cooperative society of milk producers said that milk, and not tea, should be declared the Indian national drink.
Manu Joseph, Editor of Open and author of the novel “Serious Men” writes in The New York Times:
‘National’ Loses Power as an Idea in India
It is odd that this fuss has arrived at a time when the very idea of “national” is becoming irrelevant in India, especially in matters far more serious than tribute to tea. The political supremacy of New Delhi and the central government is being challenged by state governments and other regional forces.
..It is not just in politics that the power of the national has diminished. The news media are increasingly forced to become regional. Most of India’s English-language newspapers consider themselves national publications. But they are not so in spirit. They have multiple editions, and on most days local reports overshadow national news…
..Accustomed to decades of concentration of power, Delhi’s elite is a well-run confederation of cozy cartels containing politicians, bureaucrats, merchants, middlemen, journalists, novelists and people whose day jobs cannot be easily described. They take care of their own. That is how they guard their mediocrity…
..As the idea of “national” sinks into obsolescence, it will one day liberate the rest of India from the hold of Delhi. In a way, that has already begun to happen…
(Read full column : http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/26/world/asia/26iht-letter26.html?_r=1
- Ayyo, Amma, Mama, Maami, tea is national drink? (churumuri.wordpress.com)